The weather may have been cold Friday night, but the Chapel Hill offense was hot in the first half at Cedar Ridge, scoring 28 points in two quarters as the Tigers lit up the Red Wolves in a 42-30 win at the end of high school football’s regular season.
Improving their record to 8-3 overall, 4-3 in the Big Eight Conference, the Tigers showed a liberal mix of passing and rushing. Led by quarterback Connor Stough’s three touchdown passes and a dominating performance by the Tigers’ offensive line for three rushing TDs, Chapel Hill bounced back from the previous week’s 52-33 loss to Northwood and ended its regular season with its second win in its last three games.
“We don’t have the depth that we once did on offense,” Chapel Hill coach Issac Marsh said. “But our attack has still been balanced.
“Offensively we did an excellent job.”
Despite a desultory 4-7, 2-5 record, Cedar Ridge proved to be a worthy opponent of the Tigers early on in the game. The Red Wolves took advantage of Chapel Hill turnovers and even successfully employed an onside kick early to grab a 16-14 lead in the first quarter.
“That’s an area we have to improve upon,” Marsh said. “Special teams is going to be what costs us games. It’s going to come down to that.
“That rattled us a little bit.”
Chapel Hill’s size proved difficult for Cedar Ridge, which fell behind by as much as 42-16 in the second half.
Ignited by a 64-yard rush by running back Julius Walton, Cedar Ridge scored 14 unanswered points late to make it a 42-30 game.
“I have to take my hat off to Cedar Ridge,” Marsh said. “They played a well-fought game. They had a good game plan.”
But it was the Tigers’ game to win.
“It’s always an honor to make the playoffs,” Marsh said. “That’s what you start your preseason (thinking about) and all your time and hard work is built for.”
Friday’s win was Chapel Hill’s fourth straight over Cedar Ridge. The Red Wolves last beat Chapel Hll in 2010, by a 27-6 score.
The contests between the county rivals traditionally have been close. Chapel Hill beat last year’s 2-9 Cedar Ridge team 30-28 in Culton Peerman Stadium. In 2012, despite Cedar Ridge’s 1-10 record, the Red Wolves stayed relatively close to Chapel Hill in an 18-6 Tiger win.